Mobile First Website
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What’s the big deal about mobile-first?

Do you tend to feel panicky when you realise you’ve forgotten to bring your phone with you – on your lunch break, to the shops, or out for the evening? Why such an emotional response?

It’s not just because you’ll be disconnected from friends and family for a few hours, but also because you depend heavily on your mobile to tell you where to go, what time you need to be there, what to buy and what you’re supposed to be doing next. And the more apps you use, the more reliant (or let’s admit it – addicted) you get to your phone.

Take heart, you’re not alone. According to research by Deloitte, over a third of consumers globally say they check their phones within minutes of waking up in the morning, and 20% say they check their phones more than 50 times a day.

When you think about the central role that mobile devices play in most of our lives, it makes sense to care about the mobile experience when you’re designing and developing a website.

The terminology – clearing up a few misconceptions

A lot of people think that “mobile-friendly”, “responsive” and “mobile-first” are just different ways of saying the same thing. In reality, they’re not. Here’s the difference:

  • Mobile-friendly
    This strategy starts with the desktop version of the website and then adjusts it so that the website also works on a mobile screen. Often, this means downsizing or removing images, changing horizontal displays to vertical displays and trimming down the functionality.
  • Responsive
    This approach involves designing a website for multiple screen sizes, to make sure that users of all devices can view and use the site optimally. Instead of adapting a desktop version for mobile use, responsive web design begins by thinking about all device experiences, including mobile. However, the largest screen (typically a desktop screen) often gets loaded with features and then the design is pared down from there.
  • Mobile-first
    With this methodology, the design and development team think of the mobile experience first and then they adjust the website from there. Any version built from here will have no issues with loading times or screen size constraints, which makes mobile-first a very smart way to work.

More good reasons to go mobile-first

If you care about expanding your brand reach and engaging as many users as possible, it makes sense to follow your users’ lead. Soon, there will be more mobile users than desktop users on a global scale (this has already happened in some parts of the world). Currently, around 52.2% of all website traffic worldwide is being generated through mobile phones, up from 50.3% in 2017.

Mobile-first is also a SEO strategy. Mobile-first indexing is becoming a key focus area for Google. It’s expected that Google’s ranking systems will shift towards mobile-first indexing. This means that the mobile version of your website is where Google goes first when including your site in their index. Essentially, it’s considered the main version of your website. In this context, websites that do not offer a mobile-friendly user experience may not fare so well in the search results. This is not a risk worth taking!

Finally, another reason why you want to think about mobile before desktop is because many of your audience segments may not even own a desktop or have access to one. This applies to many emerging markets and younger generations, for example.

Ready to put mobile first? Kri8it can help.

We take a mobile-first approach on all our website design and development projects – going beyond mobile-friendly to ensure your website offers a smooth and intuitive brand experience to users who can’t be parted with their mobile devices.

Need a mobile first website?

Contact us

Cape Town, South Africa

Tel: +27 21 797 8444

George, South Africa


Dublin, Ireland

Tel: +353 83 317 4599


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